*this is a sponsored post
I make no secret that I love special occasions, that, while others begin to plan for festivities around late autumn, my mind has been whirring for a good year already.
Although it may seem obsessive, even writing this article in June seems absurd to some, but my decision to plan ahead isn’t just based on passion, it’s also practicality, we have four children, so if Christmas is to go without a hitch, we have to plan ahead with our finances.
When we had just one child, or even two, we used to love that rush around the shops a month before Xmas, not thinking about deals or even the shop of choice yet, now, the cost has to be spread throughout the year and we can no longer just browse.
I was reminded on Facebook recently that we are now more than half way to the big C itself so, with the help of ‘Latest Deals UK’ I’m sharing my top five money saving tips to special occasion shopping!
Make a list:
It can be so tempting to grab items when you see them, but anyone with several children will know the sinking feeling mid-December on discovering one child has more than others. While we pick up small items as and when for stockings, we have a set list for main gifts! This keeps us on track. If you find you have a little more budget to play with at a later date then you can consider a little impulse trip, but sticking to the list prevents over spending or duplicate items.
Shop around for deals:
Following on from the above, having a set list all year round also enables you to shop around for deals without a time pressure. Some examples of where this has paid off in the past is with Lego from late deals.
You may also consider buying clothes out of season, those Xmas jumpers are heavily discounted in the New Year and for the last three years I’ve picked up Christmas Eve pjs at 75% off.
Late deals UK do all the leg work for you when looking for the best price for Lego or other items of interest, they search both online and in store to get you the lowest price possible. From Amazon to John Lewis, eBay to TravelZoo, they list all the latest deals and offers on their site. They even list freebies and competitions plus hundreds of voucher codes…. see below
Save vouchers/loyalty cards
If you’re like me, as you get older, people are less and less likely to know what to get you for your own birthday. Of course any vouchers are given with the hope that you’ll treat yourself but more often than not there’s always a few pound left unspent. Rather than letting them sit in your purse unused, keep a note of your spends and bare this in mind when shopping. I sometimes find this is enough to cover postage costs on my online sprees, ideal if you’re not able to dedicate time to hit the malls.
On a similar thread, loyalty cards!! We save our Boots, Waterstones and Tesco clubcard points all year round. This ensures December doesn’t have to be an expensive month, the supermarket points alone often halve the food bill so it more closely matches our normal weekly food shop budget.
Don’t be embarrassed to ask.
What do they want for Christmas?? While extendeds just love to pick out gifts for your family you should never be afraid to ask for specific items. There’s little point in having a list of preferred items if you then end up with a mountain of things you don’t have room for or that aren’t to your taste. Of course, you don’t want to deny family and friends the joy of finding gifts for your children, but offering ideas and a parameter can cut your own costs down and ensure the items will be used.
For example, this year our boys will be getting Lego Harry Potter sets and passing this on to family and friends offers flexibility on price and item, family can still pick out one they think the boys will like to suit their own personal budget but still ensuring the children will be wowed on Xmas day
Surprise your children
So this might be a contentious one. But it’s probably my biggest money saving tip! We all know that children are fickle, and the biggest argument I hear against early planning is that a child’s ‘list’ will change. So, we don’t encourage our children to ask Santa for a string of gifts. We believe that opening presents on Xmas morning should be magical, children only repeat what they see on adverts, or what other children have, so they’re not aware of all the weird and wonderful toys there are on the market. No one knows what your child will enjoy more than you! So why not surprise them??? Now there are exceptions to this rule, our eldest boy repeatedly asked for one Star Wars Lego set for two years before we deemed it safe and free from a last minute mind change and of course, there’s the Santa visit and letter, where our brood are encouraged to ask Santa for one small item only, but in general this no list rule has served us and our bank balance well.
So there we have it. Five tips to get you started, and yes it’s only June, but hey…. you’ll thank me come Christmas
*whilst this post was kindly sponsored by Latest Deals UK all thoughts are my own